A Malaysian sharing his thoughts with the world...
Sunday, January 05, 2014
Kluang, Johor.. 44 years later...
December 23, 2013, on the way to Port Dickson from Johor
Bharu we make a stop at Kluang where I work in 1967, some forty four years ago.
Kluang is special to me since it was there I first start working as an officer
of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, a Federal Government post. The
designation was the District Cultural Officer where I had to cover three
districts; Kluang, Segamat and Mersing. It was a challenging job where I
had to travel to various places in the rural areas in the three districts
doing social change programs. This is the first visit since I left that place
on a transfer to Malacca in January 1969. Kluang got its name from the Malay
word for Flying Fox... Keluang, thus the town is name as Kluang. On the
way to the town of Kluang from the North South Highway exit I saw lots of
changes, all land that was once rubber plantations are now develop into
residential estate, schools, shop lots and other government institution like
the Agricultural experimental station and Veterinary research and development
When we arrived in Kluang I hardly could recognise it. It
used to be just a two streets town divided by a railway gate with the the
hospital on the other side. Thus when the gate is closed to allow for the train
to pass by one cannot get to the hospital on the other side. I notice the
railway gate is still there but the township has developed on both sides. On looking
round the places I still could remember the Railway Station and the Telecom
Department where my spouse once work as well the two streets, now known as the
old part of the town. Other than that the whole town is strange to me. Forty
four years has changed the town totally and I just could not figure out some of
the places where I used to roam daily.
I stop at the Railway Station to have a
look at the famous Kopitiam shop the serve great local coffee and some snack
but that day it was close for business. The train station looks almost the same
with very little change. While I was there a train was just coming into the
station. It was indeed a fortunate time to be there where I got to watch the
train arriving and the arrival of folks as well the departure of others. I snap
some picture and sharing it here.
We then tried to look at the government
quarters where we live once but I just could not remember the exact location. I
knew it somewhere near an Army Camp but because of the place have been
developed it was difficult to remember the exact location. So with whatever
memory my spouse and I could remember we try to look for it. It takes going
round and round until our son in law who was driving the car found the place.
He parked the car nearby and we went out to have a look. The house is still
there but had been left to rot. Looking at the building memories of past
happening came rushing back. At that time we were just a young couple in our mid-twenties,
with two young kids who were as yet to go to school. Asmah my spouse
was working at the Telecom Department and I as the District
Cultural Officer for East Johor with a base in Kluang. I remember there was
then only one semi-detached house, one of which was occupied by us and the other
by a friend who work in the hospital. It looks like they have built more
such houses nearby so it takes time to recognise the house we live in. Sad to
see that house is in ruin and left to just rot.
Happy with the find we left the
place and before proceeding to our next destination, we went to have lunch at
the a new Kopitiam, a much modern and spacious place than their original outlet
at the Railway Station. While having lunch there I met an Indian couple with
three young kids. We got connected and exchange notes on the development of
this place where I once call home. They had come all the way from Batu Pahat to
enjoy their meals here. The foods was good and the ambience cosy and we did
enjoy our lunch there. After a while we proceed to our next destination,